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Southern metropolis lends global perspective for future prospects

By Yuan Shenggao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-08 08:24
Cai Chaolin (right), then vice-mayor of Guangzhou, marks the opening of the Guangzhou Liaison Office in Boston during his visit to Washington in the United States in March. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Guangzhou government has set up its first offices in the United States-in Silicon Valley and Boston-as part of its plan to promote the city overseas and attract global professionals.

The two offices will strengthen the city's exchanges with the US in scientific research and human resources, according to Cai Chaolin, Party chief of Nansha district of Guangzhou.

"The offices will actively communicate with scientific and research institutes, companies and government departments in the Silicon Valley and Boston," Cai said.

"This is a substantial move for Guangzhou to become an international hub for scientific and technological innovation.

"We will enhance our government services and actively seek to attract global investment, talent and technology."

The city has already established regular science and technology exchange programs with New Zealand, Belarus, Australia and Ukraine, according to the Guangzhou Science Technology and Innovation Commission.

An office in Israel is in the planning stages, the commission said.

Guangzhou, a major port city in South China, has been an important trade hub since ancient times. Silk shipments from Guangzhou used to be the most valuable goods in the Mediterranean area in Roman times. During the past three decades, the city has grown into an important shipping, logistics and trade hub.

The city's permanent population surpassed 14 million and its GDP reached 1.96 trillion yuan ($297 billion) in 2016.

The city has become one of the most open and most market-oriented areas in the country.

A survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in South China in March said nearly half of the companies it interviewed said they are interested in setting up branches in Nansha district, a new economic development zone in Guangzhou.

"Guangzhou, where a majority of our member companies are headquartered, represents the best investment area for all companies," said Harley Seyedin, president of the commercial chamber, commenting on the city's business environment at the Meeting of Foreign-invested Companies on Sept 15.

Seyedin said that the city offers advanced infrastructure and efficient transportation links including expressways, high-speed rail, a modern airport, and efficient ports and waterways.

The 2017 Fortune Global Forum is being held in the metropolis, once again putting it into the limelight.

Alan Murray, president of Fortune and chief content officer of the US-based group Time Inc, said: "Guangzhou is indeed a very beautiful city with strong growth momentum. We have confidence in the city's development prospects."

Fortune is a multinational business magazine published and owned by Time Inc.

Chen Jie, director of the Guangzhou commission of commerce, said the city has witnessed a huge leap in the development of cross-border e-commerce.

In 2016, the foreign trade volume of e-commerce companies based in Guangzhou reached $2.2 billion, according to the commission.

The city is becoming an ideal entry point for overseas e-commerce companies to explore the Chinese market, Chen said.

"With the rise of the living standards of Chinese residents, there is growing demand for high-quality products from overseas," he said. "Thus, the burgeoning e-commerce in Guangzhou has not only boosted the development of the local economy, but also brought huge opportunities to overseas companies."

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